Honorifics, Christopher Hitchens, Marriage, Roger Scruton, Economics, Vladimir Sorokin

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Mxing It

Debbie Cameron | Language: A Feminist Guide | 15th January 2016

"Just as ‘Ms’ could have replaced ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’, ‘Mx’ could in theory replace the whole menu. I’m betting it won’t, though. More likely it will prompt English-speakers to construct a revised taxonomy with a new slot for people who don’t identify as male or female. We’re used to the idea that titles should mark social distinctions. If we’re going to use the same title for everyone, why bother using titles at all?" (2,290 words)

Review: ‘And Yet’, By Christopher Hitchens

Terry Eagleton | Guardian | 15th January 2016

"This is the last collection of Hitchens’s essays we are likely to see. It is an odd title, suggesting the kind of judicious, impartial 'on the other hand' that was not at all Hitchens’s style. The other hand was not his most prominent body part, though it can occasionally be glimpsed. He was that self-contradictory creature, a hawkish liberal. He harboured some admirable principles and championed some nasty causes" (1,200 words)

Love And Marriage

The Economist | 14th January 2016 | | Read with 1Pass

"Britain is nearly there; America not far behind; France passed the milestone in 2007. As couples wait longer to marry, and fewer eventually do, the number of countries where more births are out of wedlock than in it has risen to more than 20. Rates across the OECD group of 34 mostly rich countries vary hugely, from 2% in Japan to 70% in Chile. But overall the average is 39%—more than five times what it was in 1970" (1,240 words)

Why Musicians Need Philosophy

Roger Scruton | Future Symphony Institute | 13th January 2016

Adorno and Schoenberg led music astray by arguing that musical organisation was arbitrary, and could be remade according to other rules – permutational, aleatoric, serial, and so on – while engaging the perceptions and interests that have emerged over centuries in the concert hall. "That cliché commits the paradigm error of philosophy, which is to oppose an empirical truth with an a priori falsehood" (1,680 words)

Can Economics Change Your Mind?

Adam Ozimek | Dismal Science | 12th January 2016

"There are many examples of economists who change their minds, even when doing so involves repudiating their own previous research. Maybe these economists are special. But I doubt that. So let me put the question to you, dear reader: Has a single economics study changed your mind on an important issue? Bonus points if the study relies on econometric evidence of the kinds that critics say don't convince anyone" (775 words)

A Strange And Endless Journey

Alina Cohen | LA Review Of Books | 13th January 2016

Jamie Gambrell talks about translating the surrealist Russian writer Vladimir Sorokin. "Crouper doesn’t seem disturbed. He’s very protective of his miniature horses (the size of birds — I missed that on my first read!). It would have caused all kinds of problems for the novel if the zombies had materialized. You’ve got the little horses, tiny people, giants. Other than that, the story doesn’t go beyond the bounds of the normal" (2,500 words)

Video of the day: Soap Bubbles Freezing

What to expect: Time-lapse. Just what the headline says. Beautiful (1'21")

Thought for the day

Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so
Bertrand Russell (http://www.quoteauthors.com/bertrand-russell-quotes)

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